Info

process by which he is renewed or made over again in the whole man after the image of God, i. e., as including the production of saving faith and union to Christ. Only in the first sense did the Reformers maintain that man in the process was wholly passive and not active. They did not dispute that, before the process in the second and more enlarged sense was completed, man was spiritually alive and active, and continued so ever after during the whole process of his sanctification.?

Dr. Hovey suggests an apt illustration of these two parts of the Holy Spirit?s work and their union in regeneration. At the same time that God makes the photographic plate sensitive, he pours in the light of truth whereby the image of Christ is formed in the soul. Without the ?sensitizing? of the plate, it would never fix the rays of light so as to retain the image. In the process of ?sensitizing,? the plate is passive and under the influence of light, it is active. In both the ?sensitizing? and the taking of the picture, the real agent is not the plate nor the light, but the photographer. The photographer cannot perform both operations at the same moment. God can. He gives the new affection and at the same instant he secures its exercise in view of the truth.

For denial of the instrumentality of truth in regeneration, see Pierce, in Bap. Quar., Jan. 1872:52. Per contra, see Anderson, Regeneration, 89122. H. B. Smith holds middle ground. He says: ?In adults it [regeneration] is wrought most frequently by the word of God as the instrument. Believing that infants may be regenerated, we cannot assert that it is tied to the word of God absolutely.? We prefer to say that, if infants are regenerated, they also are regenerated in conjunction with some influence of truth upon the mind, dim as the recognition of it may be. Otherwise we break the Scriptural connection between regeneration and conversion, and open the way for faith in a physical, magical, sacramental salvation. Squier, Autobiography, 368, says well, of the theory of regeneration which makes man purely passive, that it has a benumbing effect upon preaching: ?The lack of expectation unnerves the efforts of the preacher; an impression of the fortuitous presence neutralizes his ?engagedness?. This antinomian dependence on the Spirit extracts all vitality from the pulpit and sense of responsibility from the hearer, and makes preaching an opus operatum, like the baptismal regeneration of the formalist.? Only of the first element in regeneration are Shedd?s words true: ?A dead man cannot assist in his own resurrection? (Dogmatic Theology, 2:503).

Squier goes to the opposite extreme of regarding the truth alone as the cause of regeneration. His words are, none the less, a valuable protest

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment